Training provider goes under

Training provider goes under

A national training provider has ceased trading four months after being hit with an ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted, with the loss of 35 jobs.

Education and Youth Services (EYS), which had a head office in Stevenage as well as 16 training centres around the country, went into administration on February 4 after having its contracts with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) terminated following the Ofsted verdict.

The closure comes after the provider, which had an allocation of £5.2m from the EFA and £2.8m from the SFA for 2015/16, was taken over by the Merseyside-based Progress to Excellence Group (PtoE) in August.

PtoE managing director Sandra Kirkham told FE Week that EYS’s EFA and SFA contracts “amounted to over 80 per cent of the company’s revenue”.

Ms Kirkham said they had worked with the EFA to find alternative providers for all of its EFA-funded learners, and were continuing to work with the SFA to find alternative provision for its SFA-funded learners.

EYS had around 2,000 learners at the time of the Ofsted inspection in October.

It had started to wind down its apprenticeship provision following takeover by PtoE, Ms Kirkham said, and they had stopped recruiting new apprentices before the Ofsted inspection.

Twelve of the EYS training centres had been acquired by other training providers, Ms Kirkham said, which meant they had safeguarded 72 jobs.

In the end 35 members of staff were made redundant, “a number of whom have already found new roles”, said Ms Kirkham.

Ms Kirkham said that they had “recognised that this was a turnaround situation” when they took EYS over, but had hoped for more time before being inspected by Ofsted.

“We thought, with Ofsted, you got at least a six month extension after a new ownership, and we thought that would give us enough time to turn it around. We knew it needed improving,” she said.

“I’m sad for the learners and the staff that we weren’t afforded the time to make an impact on that business. I knew we had the expertise in the group to turn that provision around, and had we been afforded that time with Ofsted, it would have been a totally different picture,” Ms Kirkham added.

A spokesperson for the SFA said: “We can confirm that Education and Youth Services Limited has now ceased to trade.

“We are working to transfer learners to other providers and are consulting with employers and staff to take individual circumstances into account wherever possible.

“This is to ensure continuity of training for both learners and employers and to minimise any disruptions”.

An EFA spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with relevant councils to transfer the students of Education and Youth Services Ltd to alternative provision.

“We are confident that all pupils funded by the EFA have now been given a new place.”